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EMC Continues Buying Binge, Grabs a Piece of SourceLabs

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) started off 2009 by continuing its long-running acquisition spree, buying some of the assets of SourceLabs, which provides tools for users of open-source software, and hiring some of the company's personnel.

EMC confirmed the deal but wouldn't provide any details. A spokesperson said in an email that SourceLabs will continue to operate as a standalone company and that the acquired assets will be folded into EMC's Cloud Infrastructure Business. SourceLabs CEO Byron Sebastian and chief architect Will Pugh are reportedly joining EMC.

The move set off a flurry of speculation among analysts and bloggers. EMC is offering cloud storage services to businesses and consumers from a business unit called Decho (digital echo), which was created by merging EMC's Mozy online backup product and a startup company called Pi that EMC bought last year. EMC got Mozy the year before, when it bought Berkeley Data Systems.

SourceLabs raised around $7 million in venture funding in 2006. It describes itself as an innovator in open-source software support. The Seattle-based company offers open-source software integration, testing, support, and maintenance products. On its Website, the company says its Open Source Systems vision "proposes a new model for the software industry, one that frees software buyers from proprietary lock-in while delivering highly reliable software and support." The company also operates the open-source Swik project at www.swik.net, which it says provides a catalogue of more than "10,000 open source projects for an audience of over 1 million unique visitors per month."

The company has a number of products that provide automated diagnostics for Linux and Java environments for individual users as well as larger operations. It isn't known which of these products, if any, were bought by EMC. Some analysts speculate that the deal signals that EMC may become more active in the open-source community, while others suggest that automated diagnostic products could be used to economically provide support for cloud storage customers.

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